Race and Policing
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On Friday, February 12th, 2021, Oakland's Reimagining Public Safety Task Forceissued their first round of draft recommendations that will forge a new path towardholistic and community driven public safety practices and policies in Oakland. Following a discussion and revision process, the Task Force's Advisory Boardsreleased their second — and final — round of recommendations on March 1, 2021. This report breaks down all the recommendations we support, the ones we don't, and why. We also look atpotential revenue streams to pay for these shifts in practice and new community safety programs, analyze OPD calls for service data in a brand new APTP report, and highlight work already happening at the grassroots level that needs more investment.
This report explores the impact of policing on Bay area communities, highlighting the real emergencies that communities are facing, and exploring what emergency responses systems people are currently using and what is desired by communities.Since 2013, Critical Resistance has been part of a campaign called Stop Urban Shield that is fighting to halt the militarization of policing, emergency preparedness and disaster response. Urban Shield is a regional, national and global weapons expo and SWAT training that takes place in the Bay Area. It brings together law enforcement agencies and first responders from across the country and world – including from the apartheid state of Israel – in order for them to train and skill share on repression tactics, military operations and police-coordinated disaster and emergency response. Urban Shield was created by Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern in 2007, and has been held in Alameda County every year since.
Using footage from body-worn cameras, we analyze the respectfulness of police officer language toward white and black community members during routine traffic stops. We develop computational linguistic methods that extract levels of respect automatically from transcripts, informed by a thin-slicing study of participant ratings of officer utterances. We find that officers speak with consistently less respect toward black versus white community members, even after controlling for the race of the officer, the severity of the infraction, the location of the stop, and the outcome of the stop. Such disparities in common, everyday interactions between police and the communities they serve have important implications for procedural justice and the building of police–community trust.
Law enforcement agencies across the United States are facing claims that they discriminate against community members of color. Inquiries into these claims typically take one of two approaches: either attack the agency for intentional racism, or deny the presence of racial disparities altogether. Yet neither of these approaches has yielded adequate progress toward many agencies' stated mission of serving their communities with fairness and respect. Taking a different approach, the City of Oakland engaged our team of Stanford social psychologists to examine relations between the Oakland Police Department (OPD) and the Oakland community, and then to develop evidence-based remedies for any racial disparities we might find. Since May 2014, our team has undertaken five research initiatives. We describe our research methods, findings, and recommendations in Strategies for Change: Research Initiatives and Recommendations to Improve Police-Community Relations in Oakland, Calif. We provide a technical report of our main research initiative, a thorough analysis of OPD stop reports, in Data for Change: A Statistical Analysis of Police Stops, Searches, Handcuffings, and Arrests in Oakland, Calif., 2013-2014.
New Stanford research on thousands of police interactions found significant racial differences in Oakland, Calif., police conduct toward African Americans in traffic and pedestrian stops, while offering a big data approach to improving police-community relationships there and elsewhere.The report makes 50 specific recommendations for police agencies to consider, such as more expansive data collection and more focused efforts to change the nature of mindsets, policies and systems in law enforcement that contribute to racial disparities.Among the findings, African American men were four times more likely to be searched than whites during a traffic stop. African Americans were also more likely to be handcuffed, even if they ultimately were not arrested.Across the United States, the report noted, police agencies are guided by the commitment to serve communities with fairness, respect and honor. Yet tensions between police and communities of color are documented to be at an all-time high.
In the name of public safety, Black children in Oakland are being arrested at vastly disproportionate rates. This derails their opportunities for educational success while failing to ensure our children's safety. From Report Card to Criminal Record: The Impact of Policing Oakland Youth describes the various and overlapping law enforcement agencies which police Oakland's children. It reveals disturbing trends in disproportionate arrests and law enforcement contacts with youth of color, coupled with the underfunding of counselors, mental health professionals, and others whose presence could work to reduce the need for law enforcement. The information contained in this report comes from data obtained directly from Oakland Unified School District, the Oakland School Police Department, the Oakland Police Department, and Alameda County Probation.